The full Assembly moved several measures forward related to standardized assessment March 9. Among the bills was legislation, A-3079 (Jasey), which limits K-2 assessments to only those needed for diagnostic and formative purposes, as well as a bill, A- 3077 (Jasey), that requires schools to begin reporting to parents any standardized assessments taken by an entire grade.
Assembly bill, A- 3077 (Jasey), would require that beginning this fall, schools notify parents by Oct. 1, or 30 days after a decision is made to incorporate a new assessment, what standardized tests students are scheduled to take, how the tests results would be used, how much the tests cost the district and whether the exam is required by the state, the federal government or both. Information about how test results would be used must include whether the results may be used for placement in gifted and talented programs, grade promotion, graduation or any other school decisions affecting students. The bill also requires the Commissioner of Education to provide information regarding costs incurred by the State for the administration of the State assessments. NJSPA successfully sought amendment to limit reporting to only assessments given to a full grade, as opposed to all test takers.
The second bill , A-3079 (Jasey), would ban "commercially-developed" standardized tests in kindergarten through second grade, unless required by state or federal law. The bill excludes diagnostic and formative assessments used by teaching staff members to identify particular student learning needs or the need for special services, or to modify instructional strategies for individual student learning. The bill also provides that its provisions would not preclude a classroom teacher or a board of education from developing, administering, and scoring an assessment for students in those grades. NJPSA successfully argued to limit reporting to exclude truly diagnostic and formative assessments from exclusion.
Package Moving Forward
Both measures passed the Assembly by a vote of 76-0-0. The two bills have now been referred to the Senate Education Committee for consideration by the upper house. Both bills are part of a number of measures acted on by the Assembly this year as students begin taking the new PARCC tests. The Assembly passed legislation in late February that would delay the use of PARCC in student placement and teacher evaluation for three years beginning in 2016 (PARCC Moratorium Legislation Passed by Assembly, February 24, 2015)